How to Make a Rave Totem for Festival Season

Let’s get ready to rave! The name of the game is showing your spirit and standing out in the crowd.

Rave totems are as much about identifying yourself and your group as they are about adding to the overall experience. Practically, it creates a standout spot for your crew to meet up, but it also contributes to the rave’s spectacular visual effects. 

Make a Rave Totem for Festival Season

What does it take to craft a truly extraordinary piece of art for your next rave? 

From choosing the right totem to building the spectacle, we’ll take you through the process step by step. By the end, you should know how to make a festival totem and be ready to make a one-of-a-kind project. 

Design and Build the Frame

What do you want to say with your totem? Your crew probably already has a theme in mind, so maybe your totem personifies it. Have a loose idea of your ultimate goal, but start by focusing on a functional frame.

Start With the Frame

As you create a design, be sure to consider practical things like weight and durability. For example, wood is sturdy and easy to work with, but it might not be convenient to transport. Likewise, foam is lightweight and easy to transport, but it won’t last long in bad weather. 

Opt for a size and form that can be effortlessly moved around or stowed away when not used; larger totems may require multiple people to move them, whereas smaller ones should fit into the back of an automobile or van.

  • Consider building your totem in the shape of a symbol, like a logo, mascot, or Greek letters.
  • Patterns can make a statement, like etching in wood or metal, to enhance the base or set a foundation for the decor. 
  • Using each person’s initials or something that you all have in common, like a pentagon or flower. Try not to get too complicated or it will be challenging to build and move.
  • Use a meaningful word, like “courage” or “hope” to convey an important message. 

Don’t forget to consider clever ideas for transport, like folding mechanisms and straps to make your life easier.

Choose the Frame Colors

Finally, choose a color scheme to stand out from the crowd and make your totem memorable. Bold colors like reds and blues tend to draw attention, while more subtle hues like greens or yellows can provide an elegant touch. 

Some people opt for a plain base color, like black, white, or gray that they can embellish later. It makes the initial steps easier and lets you jump into decorating faster.

Remember, the base doesn’t have to be extravagant. You can use any number of rave festival accessories to enhance the overall image and theme. 

Build Your Frame

You probably have to measure, mark, and cut the wood, metal, or PVC pipe you chose to create your totem. Whatever material you choose, make sure you have the proper tools to mark and cut it safely. You also need attachments that can safely and securely hold everything in place.

Use a tape measure to mark off the desired size on each piece. Ensure you leave enough room for any decorations or embellishments you might want to add later. 

Be sure to wear safety goggles when using power tools to make cuts in any of the materials. When working with PVC pipe, metal, or wood, it’s a good idea to wear protective gloves as well.

Decorating Your Totem

Now it’s time for the fun part, bringing out your personality with lots of color and embellishments that announce your presence at the rave. You’re only limited by your imagination, and maybe a budget, so get creative!

Choosing a color scheme for your totem pole is an important part of the painting and decorating process. You might want to use a saying or pay homage to some pop culture icon.

Think about what colors best represent you or what you want your totem pole to mean. For example, bright colors can mean happiness, while dark colors can mean strength. When selecting paints, use acrylics that are designed specifically for outdoor projects like this one.

Select the Right Materials 

Make sure you choose materials that work with your frame. For example, if you chose a long PVC pole, you need to use compatible glue, even if you cover it with something else, like fabric. 

  • Paint can make your design pop and bring characters to life. It’s a great way to add color and texture to any totem. You can even use metallics or glow-in-the-dark paints.
  • Glitter is a must for any rave, and it doesn’t just apply to festival make up! Throw some glitter on your totem to make it sparkle in the sun or under the lights. 
  • Fabric is an outstanding way to dress up your totem and show off your style. You can even find glowing or reflective materials.
  • Embellish it with flowers, feathers, beads, buttons, and anything else you can get your hands on. If you use metal, you can add magnets.
  • Add strings of LED lights.
  • Stick a poster, canvas, or large photo on the totem.
  • Attach flags or banners that represent you or your cause.
  • Art and education supply stores have tons of bulletin board trims and letters that work well.
  • Finally, don’t forget about details like edges and corners when designing your totem - they’re just as important as everything else. Feather boas, light strings, and glow sticks make fun edges and hide imperfections in the frame.

    Make sure you have quality scissors, a box cutter, and the right adhesives to secure your adornments to your totem. You don’t want an embarrassing mishap with missing letters or an inappropriately placed piece because something else fell off.

Preparing Your Totem for Transport and Storage 

Secure all your totem’s parts with glue or straps to prevent them from getting damaged during transport and storage. 

First off, make sure all the parts of your totem are secured with either adhesive or straps, so they don’t come apart during travel or storage periods. This will help keep everything together and prevent any damage that loose pieces could cause. 

If you created a piece that folds or otherwise breaks down, you might want to use acid-free tissue paper between the layers to protect the colors.

Storing Your Totem Between Events

When it’s time to pack up your totem temporarily, grab some bubble wrap or other protective materials, like foam padding. You want to keep it secure in case it gets bumped because you don’t want it scratched or broken in storage. 

Make sure to use enough packing material so that your totem is snugly surrounded without being too tight, as this can cause pressure points which can lead to breakage over time.

Storing your totem in a place with stable temperature and humidity, like an attic or basement, can help keep it in good shape and avoid excessive dust build-up. 

Taking proper precautions when preparing for transport and storing your totem is essential if you want to protect it from potential damage down the line. Putting in some effort beforehand will guarantee the preservation of your labor.

Care for Your Festive Totem Pole Over Time

It is important to care for your festive totem pole over time in order to keep it looking its best. 

Regularly cleaning off dust and dirt buildup from the totem pole with a can of spray air, a soft cloth, or a soft-bristled brush will help maintain its appearance. 

Be sure not to use too much pressure when brushing, as this may cause scratches on the wood’s surface. Once you have removed all visible debris, use a damp cloth to wipe down any remaining residue before allowing it to dry completely.

Moreover, safeguard the totem pole by sealing it with a spray or finish. Use polyurethane or varnish coating to protect the wood against moisture that could further destroy the components used in its fabrication.

FAQs Related to Making a Festive Totem

In this section, we’ll take a look at some of the most commonly asked questions regarding festive totems: 

What do you use a festival totem for?

Festival totems are designed to be visually striking and serve as a symbol for festival goers. Totem poles may span a variety of heights, from mere 3 feet to towering 20+ foot behemoths, depending on the size of the event. 

Common materials used for festival totems include wood, metal, plastic, foam board, or cardboard. Custom graphics such as logos or artwork may be added to give it a unique look and further draw attention to your booth or exhibit space.

How do you make a totem statue?

Creating a totem statue requires a combination of skill and artistry. First, the artist must pick a material to use for the totem. Then they will need to sketch their design before carving or sculpting it with tools like chisels and hammers. 

Finally, details can be added using paints and other materials to bring life to the piece. The entire process is time-consuming but rewarding when done correctly - creating something that stands proudly in its environment while representing beliefs, history, culture, or spirituality.

How do you make an LED totem?

To make an LED totem, one must first acquire the necessary materials. 

This includes LEDs of various colors and sizes, resistors to regulate current flow, wires for connecting components together, a power source such as a battery or wall adapter, and a circuit board or breadboard for constructing the totem. 

Once all components are acquired, it is time to begin assembly. Start by wiring up each component according to its specific needs; this will involve soldering certain connections to ensure electrical continuity between parts. 

Finally, connect everything together on the circuit board/breadboard so that when powered up, they form an interactive display of light and color. With the correct combination of components, one can create a visually stunning LED totem.

Of course, you could also make it easier by getting a string of battery-powered fairy lights and layer them around your sign. 

What is the best pole for a rave totem?

The best pole for a rave totem depends on the individual’s preferences and needs. 

Most of the time, aluminum or fiberglass poles are the best choices for stability and weather resistance because they are light but strong. 

Additionally, telescopic poles are great options as they can be adjusted in length depending on the height of the user or space constraints. Lastly, carbon fiber poles offer a superior strength-to-weight ratio making them an excellent choice for anyone looking for maximum durability without sacrificing portability.


The festive totem you create is an expression of your creativity and individuality. Whether it’s for a festival, rave, or another event, the possibilities are endless when making a festive totem. 

With careful planning and creative design, your unique creation will be sure to make a statement at any celebration. So go ahead and get started on making that special totem today - with some effort, you can make a truly remarkable piece to celebrate the occasion in style.